THE CHINESE CHARACTER 6l
and a certain amount of real envy from the modern man. The modern man finds himself In continual perplexity in regard to many problems, and most of all in problems that affect closely his personal life. He cannot spare himself a certain luxurious envy for that ascetic ideal of Diogenes, and is at the same time far from willing to miss a really good show or movie. That gives us the so-called "restlessness9' of the modem spirit.
The Chinese, without going so far as Diogenes, for the Chinese never go far in anything, take the negative approach to happiness through their philosophy of contentment. Unlike Diogenes, however, a Chinese man wants quite a few things. But he wants only the things that make for happiness, and at the same time does not insist on having them if they are out of his reach. He wants at least a pair of clean shirts, for Diogenes in the story book may exhale a certain spiritual fragrance, but Diogenes as a bedfellow would be a different story. But if he is extremely poor and can have only one shirt, he will not mind, either. And unlike Diogenes, he wants also a good show, and he would give himself up to the full enjoyment of it. But if he must go without that, he will not be too sorry. He wants some tall old trees in his neighbourhood, but if he cannot have them, a date-tree in his yard will give him just as much happiness. He wants many children, and a wife who personally prepares his favourite dishes; and if he is wealthy, then a good cook, too, and a pretty maidservant in red pyjamas to tend the incense while he is reading or painting. He wants some good friends, and a woman who understands, preferably to be found in the person of his wife; if not, then in one of the sing-song girls. If he is not born with such "voluptuous luck/' then he wall not be sorry, either. He wants a filled stomach, but congee and pickled carrots are not so costly in China; and be wants a good jug of wine? but rice-wine is often home-brewed, or he can pay only a few cash for a bowl at the good old wine-shops. He wants leisure, and leisure he can have in China} and he is as happy as a bird if he
Has met a monk In a bamboo-covered yard And enjoyed another of life's leisurely half-days.